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THE PRESENCE OP PATRICK BRANWELL BRONtS IN WUTHERING HEIGHTS 



by 



CAROLYN MARIE MORGAN 
B. S. , Spring Hill College, 1962 



, A MASTER'S REPORT 
submitted in partial fulfillment of the 
requirements for the degree 



MASTER OF ARTS 



Department of English 



KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY 
Manhattan, Kansas 



1966 



Approved by: 




Major Professor 



to 

/?/ 



THE PRESENCE OP PATRICK BRANWELL BRONtS IN WUTHERIKG HEIGHTS 

Charlotte and Branwell Bronte, unlike their sister 

Emily, made devoted friends and kept up a wide correspondence. 

' The little we know about Emily Bronte is drawn from the 

impressions of others, not revelations she made personally. 

Therefore, any study of Emily Bronte necessitates delving 

into the writings of her relations and their friends. 

Such evidence is not always trustworthy. For example, 

Francis Henry Grundy, a friend of Branwell' s, wrote in 

his Pictures of the Past that the Bronte sisters were 

"distant and distrait, large of nose, small of figure, 

1 

red of hair, prominent of spectacles." We know that 
parts of this description are false because none of those more 
intimately connected with the Brontls concur with it; 
only Charlotte and Branwell wore spectacles and Branwell 
alone had red hair. Proceeding, then, with care I have 
attempted in this paper to show to what extent Branwell 
Bronte is present in his sister Emily's sole novel, 
Wuthering Heights . I believe it is advisable, at least 
by way of introduction, to establish what Branwell and 
Emily's relationship was like. 

However, before establishing the nature of Emily's 



-2- 



relationship to Branwell, one might do well to explode a 

few of the legends which surround them. These legends 

seem to have been encouraged by A. Mary P. Robinson's 

biography of Emily, which was published in I883. In 

writing this biography Miss Robinson, according to C. 

K. Shorter, "had access to no material other than that 

2 

contained in printed volumes." Besides the fact that she 

did not deal with any new material, her biography ofk 

Emily has at least two other weaknesses: 

In the first place she sometimes em- 
broiders a doubtful tale, already told 
by somebody else, with matter of her 
own invention, the purpose of such em- 
broidery being, apparently, to keep her 
narrative on a high level of pathos .... 
In the second place she occasionally makes 
large assumptions and treats them as 
established facts, without warning her 
readers that she has strayed into the 
realm of pure conjecture. 3 

Thus we can see that in using Miss Robinson's biography 

for scholarly work some restraint is necessary. 

One of the tales encouraged by Miss Robinson 

recounts Emily's heroic efforts in saving Branwell 's 

life from a fire which he started accidentally while 

reading in bed and then falling into a drunken stupor. 

He must have "upset the light on to the sheets, for they 

k 

and the bed were all on fire." I believe that G. F. 
Bradby in his The Brontes and Other Essays successfully 
discredits this legend. He points out the fact that 
Branwell, "as he grew worse and wilder," slept with his 
father. Rev. BrontS, incidentally, had a deep-seated 



• -3- : 

fear of fire, and the interior of the parsonage, according 
to Ellen Nussey, Charlotte's life-iong friend, "lacked 
drapery of all kinds. Mr. Bronte's horror of fire forbade 
curtains to the windows. There was not much carpet any- 
where except in the sittingroom and on the study floor. 
The hall floor and stairs were sand stoned." Bradby 
wonders how Rev. Bronte, a nervous man, could sleep through 
all the hysterics, noise, and smoke being produced right 
outside his door. It also seems strange that Branwell, 
who was in the center of the blaze, was not burned. 

The second legend, also perpetrated by Miss 
Robinson, is the attribution of Emily's death to the crushing 
blow of Branwell' s own death. I see at least three separate 
viewpoints one can hold in dealing with Emily's death. 
The known facts are that Emily caught a cold at Branwell 's 
funeral, refused all medical attention, and continued to 
perform her daily tasks until the very day of her death. 
She joined Branwell under the stones of Haworth church only 
eighty-six days after his own demise. Charlotte, in her 
letters, gives a blow by blow account of Emily's illness. 
On September 30, lQl\.Q, we would have found Emily in church, 
.listening to Branwell 's funeral sermon. A week or two 
later, Charlotte wrote; "Emily has a cold and cough at 
present .... Emily's cold and cough are very obstinate. 
I fear she has pain in her chest, and I sometimes catch 

a shortness in her breathing when she has moved at all 
7 

quickly." By November, Emily had "not rallied yet. She 



is very ill .... I think Bnily seems the nearest thing 
to my heart in all the world." In December, Charlotte 
wrote sadly that: 

Ebiily suffers no more from pain or weak- 
ness now . . . there is no mily in time, 
or on earth now . . . . ¥e are very calm 
at present. VJhy should v/e be otherwise? 
The anguish of seeing her suffer is gone 
by: the funeral cay is past. We feel 
she is at peace. No need to tremble for 
the hard frost and the keen wind. Emily 
does not feel them. She died in a time 
of promise .... But it is God's will, 
and the place where she has gone is better 
than that which she has left.o 

One can look at the facts objectively and believe that,- ... 
Emily died of "galloping consumption," whatever that is, 
and refused medical aid because she was either too courageous 
. pr too stubborn. 

Interpreted roman>ically, one would have to start 
from the premise that Branwell and Eoiily were kindred spirits, 
that when he died she had no raison d'etre , and promptly 
withered away. Miss Robinson, it must be noted, helped to 
establish this vievTpoint, a viev.'point upon which other 
legends have, in wurn, been built. Her theorizing on 
the tender relationship v;hich supposedly existed between 
Efliily and Branwell laid the foundation for this viev;point. 
After Branwell died unreclaimed and unrepentent, Snily, 
"she who so mourned her brother," decided to follow him 

quickly to the grave because "The motive of her life seemed 
9 

gone." This is pure conjecture on the part of Miss 
Robinson, because the only recorded comments of Emily's 
on Branwell 's condition do not reveal such sentiments. 



Bradby feels that Miss Robinson was led to such conjectures 

because she "was convinced that her heroine's refusal to 

be nursed must have had its roots in some gentler feeling 

than an obstinate pride in self. Miss Robinson found the 

10 

cause in a broken heart." 

Viewed psychologically, Qnily caught a "psychosomatic 
chill" and not only allowed herself to die, but actually 
had a very strong death wish. The sensitive Emily, viewed 
from this angle, was emotionally unprepared for the un- 
favorable reviews received by Wuthering Heights ; she was 
depressed and. her fellow failure Branwell died, making 
her realize how impossible the struggle was. The famous 
review which Charlotte read to the dying Emily from The 
North American Review seems to give us the impression 
that all the reviews were unfavorable. We remember Ellis 

Bell being characterized as the "man of uncommon talents, 

11 

but dogged, brutal and morose." Actually Snily must 
have read the English reviews which appeared sometime be- 
fore any review in an American paper and these were not 
totally discouraging. 

In the rosewood desk which was Emily's, and upon 
which she probably wrote most of Wuthering Heights , five 
reviews, totalling fifteen thousand words, were found. 
Four of these reviews were from The Atlas , The Examiner, 
Douglas Jerrold's V/eekly Newspaper and Britannia (there is 
no name on the fourth cutting, but it has been identified). 
The fifth cannot be traced. These reviews do contain some 
favorable passages. 



-6- 



The review in Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper 
reads as follows: 

, , , we strongly recommend all our readers who 
love novelty to get this story, for we can 
; . promise that they never had read anything 

like it before. It is very puzzling and very 
■ interesting, and if we had space we would 

. . ' . willingly devote a little more time to the 
analysis of this remarkable story, but we 
must leave it to our readers to decide what 
sort of book it is.-^^ 

The review from an unknown source states that: 

• It is not every day that so good a novel 

makes its appearance and to give its con- 
tents in detail would be depriving many 
a reader of half the delight he would ex- 
perience from the perusal of the work itself. 
To its pages we must refer him then. There 
he will have ample opportunity of sympathising-- 
if he has one touch of nature that 'makes 
• the whole world kin' — with the feelings of 
childhood, youth, manhood, and age, and all 
the emotions and passions which agitate the 
restless bosom of humanity. May he derive 
■ from it the delight we have ourselves ex- 
perienced, and be equally grateful to its 
author for the genuine pleasure he has 
afforded him. ^3 

The Britannia critic feels that: 

He {Ellis Bel^ displays considerable power 
in his creations. They have all the angularity 
of misshapen growth, and form in this respect 
a striking contrast to those regular forms 
we are accustomed to meet with in English 
fiction. They are so new, so wildly grotesque, 
so entirely without art that they strike 
us as proceeding from a mind of limited ex- 
perience, but of original energy and of a 
singular and distinctive cast,^'^- 

Dnly The Atlas review is decidedly unflattering. While these 

reviews do not rapturously extoll the virtues of Ellis Bell 

and Wuthering Heights , some phrases or passages would 



please a new author, one who had just published bis ofirst 



-7- ■ . ^ . , 

work. I personally doubt that Qnily Jane thought herself 
judged an artistic failure. 

Though the reason for Emily's firm decision not 
to seek medical help can be blamed on pride, or on a be- 
lief that Nature would heal her, or on a belief that she 
was immutable, or on some type of mania, there seems to 
be no doubt that in the very last hours before her death 
she clung tenaciously to life. She finally called for a 
doctor. It was, however, too late. Throughout the rest 
of her life, Charlotte herself returned over and over 
again to the day on which Emily died. She says: 

.1 cannot forget Emily's death-day; it be- 
• comes a more fixed, a darker, a more fre- 
quently recurring idea in my mind than ever. 
It was very terrible. She was torn, con- 
■ scious, panting, reluctant, though re- 

solute out of a happy life. 15 

Although Charlotte has rhetorically heightened the dramatic 

effect of her last sentence, the central idea remains: 

Emily died unwillingly, she did not long for death. 

Not only is Emily's corpse laid at the feet of 

Branwell, but Emily, in turn, is held responsible, by some, 

for the death of Anne] In The Three Bront'^s we read that 

"As Qnily died of Branwell 's death, so Emily's death hastened 
16 

Anne's." Phyllis Bentley in The Bront8 Sisters states, 

in speaking of the deaths of Emily and Anne, that: 

. . . when all that has been said, one 
cannot but feel that these two deaths within 
six months, of young vjomen thirty and twenty- 
nine ( i^. e_. , past the most dangerous tubercular 
.: age), must have had some striking psychological 
cause. Anne and Emily x^re^e inseparable friends 
in life; it was not altogether surprising 
that the milder and weaker and younger girl. 



who had always been delicate, should 
make haste to follow the stronger of the 
pair to the grave. ^7 

It seems that some critics believe that the Brontes' love 

for each other was of a particularly deadly nature. I 

see no reason for Miss Bentley to state that the deaths of 

Emily and Anne "must have had some striking psychological 
18 

cause." Charlotte, in her letters, mentions that Anne 
had a cough and was ailing while Emily, unknown to them, 
was slowly dying. Anne, who lacked Emily's pride and 
metaphysic, willingly sought help from doctors. She Journeyed 
to Scarborough, hoping that the sea air would revive her 
wasted body. All this to no avail: Anne lies buried in 
Scarborough, the only Bronte not interred at Haworth. 
It is not apparent that Anne "made haste" to follow Emily 
in death. 

Closely related to these legends is the work of 

some scholars, such as Edith Kinsley and Norma Crandall. 

Delving into Qnily's poetry these scholars, who evidently 

do not believe that poets can imagine, can wite of things 

never experienced, find the record of an incestuous 

relationship between Branwell and Emily. I am afraid that 

these critics have been driven to such an extreme and, I 

believe, untenable position by the very dearth of material 

on Emily. Such stanzas of Qnily's verse as the following 

are quoted in building their argument: 

Thy raving, dying victim see, " 
Lost, cursed, degraded, all for theel 
Gaze on the wretch, recall to mind 
His golden days left long behind. 



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And 

There, lingering in the wild embrace 
Youth's warm affections gave. 
She sits and fondly seems, to trace 
His features in the wave,^^ 

One cannot accept the thesis that Branwell and Emily were 

lovers, without forgetting that they spent a great deal 

of their lives in imaginary lands where love was an often 

felt emotion; an emotion which is quite easy to imagine. On 

this point, Bradby states that: • 

. . . Emily was a poet, and poets can feel 
passionately about imagined experiences, 
as well as about their contacts with real 
life. If they did not, Tennyson (to take 
one instance only) could never have written 
Maud . There is passion and romance in Maud , 
yet in his actual relations with women, 
Tennyson was never either passionate or 
romantic. 

If a critic still feels that he must go on and 

correlate Emily's personal life with her poetry, he will 

find several problems awaiting him. One of these problems 

comes into being upon comparing the biographical material 

surviving from Emily's own hand to the poems written during 

the same time period. One of these scraps of biographical 

material is the birthday letter of July 30, l8L|.l, addressed 

to Anne. Einily and Anne had the pleasant custom of exchanging 

letters on their birthdays; these letters were to be opened 

on their birthdays three or four years later. Muriel Spark 

believes that the letter of I8I4.I is characterized by a 

21 

"buoyancy of spirit" and I agree wholeheartedly with her. 
Miss Spark goes on to note the lack of similarity between the 
hopeful, even cheerful letter, and the "tragic mood of her 



recent poems--wlth their stress on themes of death, remorse, 

revenge, imprisonment — Emily was not hiding her true 

state of mind in the letter from Anne, because Anne would 

see both the letter and the poems. Miss Spark's conclusion 

is that Emily's poems were "more objectively conceived 

22 

than they appear to be." 

If a critic is willing to restrict his interpretation 

of the poems to those which are strictly personal he must 

then distinguish them from the Gondal poems. This is not 

easily done. In a short article, "The Gondal Story," 

which appears in The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bront^ , 

edited by Hatfield, the prestigious Bront^ scholar Fannie 

Ratchford states that most and "perhaps all" of Buily 

Bronte's poems pertain to Gondal and that "approximately 

one-half of the one hundred and ninety-three poems and 

fragments printed by Mr. Hatfield, including the longer 

and more important pieces, take their places in the 

Gondal pattern." Miss Ratchford feels that "Thus Snily 

Bronte's own voice turns into nonsense the hundreds of pages 

of Bront^ biography based on the subjective interpretation 
23 

of her poems." Because of the arguments stated in the 
preceding paragraphs I must reject the use of Emily's poems 
in establishing her feelings for Branwell. Instead I 
now turn to an analysis of Emily's character and life. 

It has been noted that if any one trait marked 
all the Bront*^ children it was shyness. In 1833 the 
Brontes met with Ellen Nussey and her companions at the 



•J f 



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Devonshire Arms Hotel at Bolton Bridge. During the journey 
to their destination the Brontes were in high spirits, 
however, as . 

... . . the dog-cart rattles noisily into the 
open space in front of the Devonshire Arms, 
and the BrontSs see the carriage and its 
occupants . . . there is silence; Branwell 
contrasts his humble equipage with that which 
... stands at the inn door, and a flush of 
mortified pride colours his face; the sisters 
scarcely note this contrast, but to their 
dismay they see that their friend is not alone 
.... The laughter is stilled; even Branwell 's 
volubility is at an end; the glad light dies 
from their eyes, and when they alight and 
submit to the process of being introduced 
to Miss N's companions, their faces are as 
dull and as commonplace as their dresses 
.... Miss N_ still recalls that painful 
moment when the merry talk and laughter 
of her friends were quenched at the sight 
of the company awaiting them, and when 
throughout a day to which all had looked forward 
. with anticipations of delight, the three 

Brontes clung to each other or to their friend, 
• scarcely venturing to speak above a whisper, 
. ■ and betraying in every look and word the 
positive agony which filled their hearts^, 
when a stranger approached them . . . . ^ 

Grundy characterizes the Brontl girls with their "eyes 

constantly cast down, very silent, painfully retiring," 

and speaks of Branwell 's "downcast look which never varied, 

26 

save for a rapid momentary glance at long intervals." 

27 

The "crushing Bronte timidity" predominated in 

28 

Emily and finally grew to "an almost impenetrable aloofness." 
As an adolescent, Ellen Nussey thought that Bnily had 
"very beautiful eyes, kind, kindling liquid eyes . . . she 
did not often look at you. She was too reserved." Only 

29 

on the moors was Emily's "reserve replaced by naive delight," 
Apparently Bnily never outgrew this shyness completely 
because when she was twenty-four M. Heger wrote to her 



-12- 

father that: "Miss Emily was learning the piano, receiving 

lessons from the best professor in Belgium, and she herself 

had little little pupils. She was losing whatever remained 

30 

of ignorance, and also of what was worse — timidity." 

This statement, incidentally, contrasts starkly with the 

one M. Heg^ made about Buily fifteen years later. The 

now famous passage begins with "She should have been a man — 

31 

a great navigator ..." The once timid young woman 

after having attained literary success had become, in 

retrospect, a "great navigator," a strong masculine spirit. 

Phyllis Bentley has noted the number of times the 

word lone or one of its derivatives appears in key positions 

in the poems of Rnily Bronte. While I believe that Emily 

felt herself to be alone, I do not believe that her fagade 

of shyness and timidity hid a strong desire to be with other 

people and communicate with them. According to Ellen 

Nussey, Emily had "a strength of self -containment seen 

32 

in no other . . . and talked very little." Muriel Spark 

states that Emily "had no apparent desire for any company 

33 

outside her family." Bradby says that Emily "did not 
care for people. She had no curiosity to enter into and 
explore their minds; and her o\m she instinctively bolted 
and barred in their presence. She was more alone in 
company than in solitude which she could people with 
her fancies." ' < - 

If we accept this delineation of Enily Bront4* we 
realize that she did not find strangers appealing and. 



-13- 

therefore, did not go out of her way to make herself appealing, 

It is not surprising then that "most of those of her own 

social standing who came in contact with her found her most 

difficult to get on with." In 192i|, Sir Clifford Allbutt 

wrote: "It was not Charlotte who was 'gey ill to live with' 

but Emily. No human being . . . could get along with 
36 

Eknily Bront^'." Because Emily's extreme shyness often 

bordered on rudeness, Charlotte's anxious question to a 

visitor who had just returned from a walk with Emily was, 

37 

"How did Emily behave?" 1 

' In the biographical notice to the second edition of 
Wuthering Heights , Charlotte says of Emily: 

... she had no worldly wisdom; her powers 
were unadapted to the practical business of 
life: she would fail to defend her most 
manifest rights, to consult her most legitimate 
advantage. An interpreter ought always to 
have stood between her and the world.3o 

It was Charlotte who arranged and planned two of Emily's 

three ventures into the world outside Haworth. Charlotte, 

determined that the Bronte sisters would make their own way 

in the world, brought Braily to the Roe Head School and to the 

Pensionat Heger in Brussels. In 1845 Charlotte accidentally 

found B:iiily's poetry. 

My sister Emily was not a person of demonstrative 
character, nor one on the recesses of whose mind 
and feelings even those nearest and dearest to 
her could, with impunity, intrude unlicensed: 
it took hours to reconcile her to the discovery 
I had made. 39 

Charlotte then states that she had to beg Emily for days 

in order to gain her permission to have the poems published. 

Permission was finally, but reluctantly, given. Emily was. 



' •• ^ -11^- - ■ ] 

as Charlotte had said, unconcerned with the ways of the 
world; her world was centered around the moors and craigs 
of Yorkshire; Haworth and its inmates. In fact, Charlotte 
compares Emily to a nun, a nun who is unaware of the traffic 
outside her convent gates. 

Ehily's life did revolve around Haworth. However, 
we must understand that even at Haworth her realm of ex- 
perience was severly limited. The other Brontfe's taught 
Sunday school or belonged to organizations in the village, 
e^. ^, f Branwell belonged to and was an active member of 
a Masonic lodge at Haworth and a boxing club, whereas 
Emily rarely ventured outside the parsonage door "except 
to go to church or take a walk on the hills . . . Though her 
feeling for the people round was benevolent, intercourse with 
them was never sought; nor, with very few exceptions, ever 
experienced." 

Btiily left her beloved Haworth only three times. 

The first instance occurred when Charlotte taught at Roe 

Head School and obtained free tuition for her sister. 

However, Emily's health quickly began to fail. Speaking 

of Bnily, Charlotte notes that 

Every morning when she woke, the vision of 
home and the moors rushed on her, and dark- 
ened and saddened the day that lay before her. 
Nobody knew what ailed her but me. I knew 
only too well. In this struggle her health 
was quickly broken: her white face, atten- 
uated form, and failing strength threatened 
rapid decline. I felt in my heart she would 
die if she did not go home, and with this 
• conviction obtained her recall. She had only 
been three months at school. 

At the Pensionat Heger Qnily was miserable. Away from her 



accustoned surroundings, surroundings which had provided 
"the only media they had for expressing their creative 
genius," Emily's literary output dwindled to almost nothing. 
At the death of their Aunt Branwell, Emily and Charlotte 
returned to Haworth. Emily's third absence from Haworth 
lasted six months. She taught at Law Hill School, Southowram, 
near Halifax. In all, Emily spent approximately two of her 
thirty years away from Haworth. 

In these two years away from Haworth what man or men 
came within the circumference of Emily's narrow experiences? 
Could any other men outside of Haworth have influenced 
Emily in her portrayal of various men in Wuthering Heights ? 
We do not find any mention or suggestion of the unsociable r 
Emily having made any lasting contact with a male outside 
of the family. 

We get no clue from her work that she ever 
experienced a love affair, far less that she 
ever entertained amorous feelings for a living 
person; love is a conceptual though passionate 
. emotion in Emily Bront^^'s work. In contemporary 
reports, there is no indication of her falling 
in love with anyone; moreover, there is no 
sign that, merely lacking the opportunity of 
meeting men, she did not fall in love. She does 
' ' not appear to have needed any object of amorous 
■ or sexual attention. That is not to say she 

was without passion, but to say that passion 
': in her, was not focussed towards attachments 

to her fellownen. In other words, she appears 
to have been a born celibate . . .^-^ 

Some critics, however, have attempted to link her name with 

M. Heg^ and with William Weightman, her father's young 

curate. This can only be attributed to some type of carry 

over because Heg/r was Charlotte's mentor and Anne has 

traditionally thought to have been in love with Weightman, 



' I ■ 

I ■ - ■ ■ ■. - ■ 

who flirted with her, and with other girls in the Haworth 
area, ' 

The most ridiculous connection of Emily Bronte with 
a male centers around the name Louis Parensell. Louis may 
be referred to as Emily's lost love: the wretch, "whom she 
met at Miss Patchet's school at Law Hill," who caused her 
death. Poor Louis is so lost he, in fact, never existed. 
The two words Louis Parensell are found, according to Virginia 
Moore, on a poem of Ehiily's in Charlotte's handwriting. 
This poem was eventually printed after Emily's death as 
' "Last Words," Unfortunately for the manufacturers of legend, 
experts in the manuscript department of the British Museum 
say that the words Louis Parensell have been misread for 
Love ' 3 Farewell , Louis, therefore, is written out of 
existence. Apparently there is no one to take his place. 

If Emily was physically, at least, contained at the 
Haworth parsonage, if most of her experience with other human 
beings could be equated with her experiences and relationships 
with her brother and sisters, we can see how important 
these relationships are. And what were Emily's relationships 
with her brother and sisters? Two of Emily's sisters, Maria 
and Elizabeth, died when Emily was but seven. Though it 
is certain that the death of Maria had a traumatic effect 
on Branwell, the death of these two sisters is not known to 
have effected Emily greatly. They did, however, set the tone 
of death and desperation which overclouded the parsonage. 



Together, Emily and Anne wrote the Gondal material. 
Anne, the least imaginative of the Brontes, was used by 
Emily as a sounding board. That is, Emily would write a poem 
on a certain subject and then Anne would, two or three months 
later, write a poem on the same or a closely related theme. 
This was one aspect of their literary relationship. Did 
Anne ever penetrate behind Emily's aloofness and read her 
soul? 

It is impossible to say, for Anne died within 
a few months of Emily, leaving no records 
except her simple poems and her two novels. 
Ellen Nussey says that in their childhood 
the two. youngest of the Bronte girls were 
like twins, always together and always in 
harmony. They had collaborated over the 
Gondal stories and paced arm-in-arm round 
the parlour table. Probably Anne understood 
her sister's moods better than anybody else; 
but it is difficult to believe that she 
could have sympathized with, or even under- 
stood, that sister's deepest and most daring 
thoughts. 

It is doubtful whether the pius Anne could or did probe 

into the depths of Qnily's complex personality. 

Ci v: J.Charlotte herself was surprised that Bnily wrote 

•poetry not "at all like the poetry women generally write." 

At the time of Charlotte's discovery of Emily's poems, 

Emily had only two more years to live. By then an impasse 

is believed to have been formed between the quiet, strong, and 

philosophic linily and Charlotte, who was more successful in 

adapting herself to the real world. 

Charlotte was, though she did not know it, 
just the kind of elder sister to whom a 
rather shy and sensitive genius could never 
have opened its secret door3--practical, 
critical, and quietly, kindly, but persistently 
dominating. She and Qnily could never have 
been kindred spirits. Their minds and imagin- 
ations moved on different planes. 47 



It has been suggested that Snily did not like Charlotte. 
She disagreed, for example, with Charlotte on the aesthetic 
values of paintings in the various London galleries. She 
also enjoyed seeing Charlotte frightened at the prospect of 
being near strange, unknown animals. However, Emily went 
along with Charlotte's plans for her study at Roe Head and 
Brussels. Charlotte enthusiastically conceived of the idea 
of the BrontS sisters opening their own school. This idea 
was met with less than wholehearted approval from Einily and 
Anne. Writing to M. Heger about the school, Charlotte says 
that 

■ Emily does not care much for teaching, but 
she would look after the housekeeping, and, 
although something of a recluse, she is too 
goodhearted not to do all she could for the 
well-being of the children. ^° 

That Emily was going to contribute in her own way to 

Charlotte's proposed Bronte school is certain; that she 

breathed a sigh of relief when the dream shattered is 

probable. • . ' 

■ On December 1, 1827, Charlotte and Emily established 
their "best plays." These "best plays" meant "secret plays; 
they are very nice ones. All our plays are very strange 
ones." Eventually, however, Charlotte gravitated to 
Branwell' and they collaborated in writing the Angria legends. 
In childhood, Branwell was Charlotte's idol. Scholars do 
not imagine that Branwell, who had an egocentric nature, 
had an early affinity for the shy and tight-lipped Qaily. 

If Branwell and Emily cannot be thought of as 
incestuous lovers or literary collaborators in childhood. 



-19- 



together they could be regarded as religious rebels. 
Branwell's cynicism about religion and his refusal to 
attend religious services undoubtedly hurt his father. 
Regardless of what Branwell really believed or the torments 
and doubts he endured, he did put forth a rebellious attitude 
toward religion. An early verse demonstrates this: 

We say the world was made by one 
; Who's seen or heard or known by none; 

We say that He, the Almighty God, 
' Has framed creation with a nod. 

And that he loves our race so well 

He hurls our spirits into Hell. 

No, Heaven is but an earthly dream. 

'Tis Man makes God--not God makes him. 50 

In Pattern for Genius , Edith Kinsley says that: 

If the early enmity between Branwell and 
Emily often terrified their sisters, it 

' - ,v was not so terrifying as their later affinity. 
From infancy they had united in truancy, in 
running away to the moors. It was intellectual 
revolt which effected an inseperable alliance 

■ ' between them. Emily was the more rational 

and resolute of the two. In becoming an un- 
believer--and this was a colossal adventure 
; for the child of a clergyman in the l820's — 
she formed new concepts for herself, concepts 
\ ■ ;'• greater and more satisfying than she had lost; 
therefore, she took her freedom of thought 
without guilt. It was otherwise with Branwell. 

' ; Perhaps, for that reason, he was the more 
daring. 51 

In contrast to Branwell, Emily attained the most 
sophisticated and individual metaphysic of all the Brontes. 
Her ideas on religion, on God, are very much different 
from the Hellfire and Damnation of her Aunt Branv;ell, who 
raised the Brontes, or her father, the Rev. Patrick Bronte. 
Poems such as "No Coward Soul is Mine" and the philosophical 
and theological implications of Wutherinp; Heights make us 



-20- 

. '. ' r ■ ' ' ' ' . ' ■ ■ • " 

realize that Btiily "was far removed from orthodoxy, and that 

what faith she retained she held, not with the help of, 

52 

but in spite of, religious formulae." Mary Taylor, a 

friend of Charlotte's and quite a rebel herself, remembered 

that on a visit to Haworth she ' ' ■ 

, . , mentioned that someone has asked me what 
religion I was (with a view to getting me for 
a partisan). I had said that was between God 
and me. Emily, who was lying on the hearth 
rug, exclaimed; 'That's right.' This was all 
5 I ever heard Einily say on religious subjects . . . 

With similar exterior attitudes coming from drastically 

divergent sources, I believe that Emily could at least 

respect Branwell's opinions on religion and his rebellious 

attitude, since she was a religious rebel herself. 

In the eyes of the world and according to the 
world's standards, Emily and Branwell were both failures. 
We have already mentioned Qnily's inability to survive 
outside of Haworth. Anne was strong enough to serve as 
a governess for four years at Thorp Green; Charlotte con- 
tinued her studies at the Pensionat Hege'r without Bnily 
and acted in various positions as governess. Emily was 
quite happy to stay at home and perform in the role of 
housewife and nurse; Rev. Bronte was then suffering from 
failing eyesight. 

Branwell, who was raised with the idea of certainly 
attaining the highest realms of greatness, suffered his 
initial defeat when he went to London in order to be 
accepted at the Royal Academy of Arts. Branwell did not 
even apply, spent most of his time at the Castle Tavern, 



-21- 



and returned home without any money. In 1835 only Emily 

of his sisters was at Haworth to greet him. 

It may have been as well for Branwell that it 
happened to be Emily who was at home, for 
Emily could understand his predicament if 
anybody in the family could. She had just, 
\ herself, suffered a mortifying failure at 

i Roe Head and fled home on an impulse of self- 
preservation, different in degree but not in 
•nature, from his. It was not work that daunted 
Emily, but the removal from surroundings es- 
'■ sential to her nature. It may well be that 
'i ■ in that first association of brother and 

sister, there was formed that closeness of 
: ■ understanding and tolerance which united 
' Emily to Branwell in his direst need at the 
^ end of his life.5ij- 

Por different reasons, Emily too was repelled by London; 
as Charlotte said, "It [visiting London! is one no power 
on earth would induce Ellis Bell to avail himself of." 

Biographers of Bnily, due to Miss Robinson, have 
attempted to portray Emily as the all-forgiving, devoted, 
understanding, and sympathetic sister of a drunken, dope- 
addict of a brother. Miss Robinson states that: 

... there was one woman's heart strong enough 
in its compassion to bear the daily disgusts, 
weaknesses, sins of Branwell's life, and yet 
persist in aid and affection. She never wandered 
in her kindness. In that silent house it was 
the silent Emily who had ever a cheering 
word for Branwell; it was Emily who still re- 
membered that he was her brother, without 
that remembrance forcing her heart to numb- ^, 
ness. She still hoped to win him back by love.-' 

This is all very heart stirring; however. Miss Robinson 
had no substantial evidence upon which to base her inter- 
pretation of the Branwell-Emily relationship. We have only 
two recorded comments of Emily's on Branwell's depraved 



condition. In l8i^5> after Branwell returned from Thorp 



-22- 



Green and his affair with Mrs. Lydia Robinson, Bmily and 

Anne recorded that Branwell had recently "had much tribulation 

and ill health" and were hoping that "he would be better 

57 

and do better hereafter." At this point, however, 
Charlotte considered Branwell as unredeemable. Emily, 

in l8i;6, wrote to Charlotte that Branwell "is a hopeless 

58 

being." He had just gotten a sovereign from his father, 

pretending that he was going to pay a debt with it. Instead 

he used it for drink. , . . 

Certainly Branwell, a year from his death, was a 

"hopeless being." I feel that at this time Emily realized, 

as did Branwell himself, that his undisciplined childhood, 

coupled with an overflowing, emotional temperment had 

crippled him and made him unfit to live in the real world. 

One scholar feels that Emily "characterized him with a 

59 

mildness which seems a miracle of understatement," 

Emily, I think, simply realized the true state of affairs, 

while Charlotte in her many comments on Branwell 's condition 

could only berate him for not finding employment, for 

embarassing the family, for making their home unpleasant. 

Branwell, for example, once told a friend of his visit 

to a dying Sunday school girl to whom he read, at her 

request, a psalm and hymn. Not stopping at the Black 

Bull Tavern, but coming "straight home" in a depressed 

state of mind, Charlotte questioned him as to his mood. 

When he told her what he had been doing Charlotte 

... looked at me with a look I shall never 
forget — if I live to be a hundred years old 
.... It wounded me as if someone had struck 



-23- 



me a blow to the mouth. It involved ever so 
many things in it. It was a dubious look. 
It ran over me, questioning and examining, 
as if I had been a wild beast. It said, 
'Did my ears deceive me or did I hear aright?' 
And then came the painful, baffled expression, 
which was worse than all. It said, 'I wonder 
if that's true?'oO 

As I stated earlier, Branwell and Emily did not 
collaborate in literary productions during their childhood. 
This is not to say that the older children, Branwell and 
Charlotte, did not influence the younger sisters, Emily 
and Anne. For example, one can find the use of similar 
or identical names in the Angrian and Gondal material. 
Hov;ever, in 1835, when only Emily and Branwell were at 
Haworth, a "close association between these two" is be- 
lieved to have developed. This idea is based on the 
fact that 

Five short lyrics, one slightly longer poem, 
and parts of three long ones now assigned to 
Branwell have been printed as Emily's, and this 
"not only because of confusion of manuscripts 
and similarity of handwriting, but because 
they are really like Emily. Not Emily at her 
best or second best, but such as a clever 
and sensitive imitator might readily pro- 
duce, unconscious of imitation. All these 
poems belong to the years I836, '37» and 
'38, when Emily and Branwell were both at 
home, not continuously but more or le?5» 
and Charlotte and Anne mostly absent. °^ 

Einily is also known to have copied Branwell 's poem "Sir 

Henry Tuns tall" for him, a poem thought to be his best. 

Friends of the deceased Branwell suggested, in 

the last century, that he was the true author of Wuthering 

Heights . Those who still uphold this theory bring forth 

the most ridiculous of arguments in support of their cause. 



-21;- 

-f ' 

Miss Alice Law, for example, argues that Emily could not 
have written Wuthering Heights simply because she was a 
woman. Miss Law apparently has not recovered from a bad 
case of Victorian sensitivity; neither has she read Btiily's 
Gondal poems in which the barest outlines of Wuthering Heights 
can be traced. Suily is thus relegated by Miss Law to a 
life of pink sateen pillows and needlework. I believe 
that there is enough external evidence to totally confound 
any argument put forth for Branwell's authorship of " 
Wuthering Hei_ghts. Even a hasty glance at Branwell's 
attempted novel, "And the Weary are at Rest," will demonstrate 
how impossible the above assertion is. 

We know that Branwell Bronte's father expected him 
to produce, in his mature years, the fruits of genius. 
Though not the eldest child, he was set above the girls. 
As Charlotte says, "My poor father naturally thought more 
of his only son than his daughters, and much and long as 
he had suffered on his account, he cried out for his loss 

like David for that of Absalom- -My sonl my son 1 and refused 

63 

to be comforted." By the age of twenty, however, the 
Rev. Patrick BrontS's only son had started on the path of 
disintegration which would end in death ten years later. 
Emily, who, I believe, had more in common with Branwell 
than Anne or Charlotte and, therefore, understood the reasons 
for his hopeless deterioration, watched his slow, but sure, 
collapse. Charlotte wrote in the biographical notice to the 
second edition of Wuthering Heights that Eknily and Anne 



-25- 



"always wrote from the impulse of nature, the dictates 

of intuition, and from such stores of observation as their 

limited experiences had enabled them to amass." We have 

already seen how very limited Emily's experience was. 

There are two main critical positions on whether 

Branwell's shadow can be found in Wuthering Heights . Some 

critics completely reject the thesis that Emily consciously 

or subconsciously drew upon Branwell in her characterizations 

of various male characters. These critics, like Miss . 

Law, depart on their own arguments from Miss Robinson's 

sentimental version of the Branwell-Emily connection. 

Miss Law feels that Emily loved Branwell so much that to 

have "used" him is unthinkable. She states: 

As for the suggestion made both by Sir 
Wemyss Re id and Miss Robinson, that Emily 
drew the study of Heathcliff from her unfortu- 
nate brother's experiences, that she was so 
cruelly detached from human sympathy as to 
'use' his vices for her ovm artistic ends, 
and so 'drew its profit from her brother's 
shame, ' the suggestion is an outrage on this 
• ■ loving guardian of her brother. If we in- 
terpret that fiery nature aright, we must 
believe that Emily would rather have bitten 
out her tongue or burnt off the offending 
hand than have uttered or penned a line that 
should defame him.°5 

We have already shown that there is no positive proof that 

Emily was the "loving guardian of her brother." 

Muriel Spark bases her rejection of the thesis on 

the fact that Branwell was too close to the Bront*4 sisters 

and offered no mystery to be solved. However, she states 

that while Branwell was drowning his troubles at the Black 

Bull Tavern, "The sisters, awed, frightened, impressed. 



contemptuous, and a little thrilled looked on- and sighed 

66 

when the creditors came to the door." A few pages later 

Miss Spark states: 

•While they wrote the books, Branwell was 
■ s , , ■ Rapidly deteriorating, and so it is sometimes 
claimed that Etnily and Anne drew upon their 
brother for 'copy', reproducing him in their 
novels. This seems unlikely; they actually 
saw too much of Branwell to use him effectively 
in this way. There was no mystery in Branwell 
to be worked out in their novels. °7 

This does not make sense. Surely if the Brontfe^ sisters 

were "awed, frightened, impressed, contemptuous, and a little 

thrilled" over Branwell and his actions he would be on their 

minds. They could not dismiss him with a yawn. During 

Branwell 's last three years his dissipation and disease 

increased ten fold; there was still much shock value left. 

Miss Spark writes a psychological study of Emily Bront^, 

and yet she discounts any subconscious use of Branwell by 

Emily. If the feelings the Bronte sisters had regarding 

Branwell were too volatile for them to handle on the surface, 

perhaps they were driven underground, where they remained 

until called. I think that Miss Spark's interpretation of 

this problem is influenced by the fact that she thinks Branwell 

a mediocre person, one who was "neither a dissipated villain 

68 

nor broken-hearted hero." Obviously a second-rater, 

the Brontes had no reason to call upon him in the construction 

of their masterpieces.. ■ 

At the opposite end of the critical scale we find 
critics and biographers who suggest that Branwell is not 
only found in the Brontes' works, but actually motivated them 



to write in order to obtain a catharsis. One of these 
biographers is the noble Mrs. Gaskell who, believes Sir 
Wemyss Reid, 

carried away by her honest womanly horror 
' of 'hardened vice, gives us to understand 
that the tragic turning-point in the lives of 
the sisters was connected with the disgrace 
r: and ruin of their brother .... It is not 

so. There may be disappointment among those 
who have been nurtured on the traditions of 
Brontg romance when they find that the reality 
is different from what they supposed it to 
be; some shallow judges ma/ even assume that 
Charlotte herself loses in moral stature when 
it is shown that it was not her horror at her 
brother's fall which drove her to find relief 
in literary speech. But the truth must be told . . 

At one time the Bronte novels, especially Jane Eyre , were 

thought to be almost strictly autobiographical. This, 

coupled with Victorian prudery, must have developed the 

theory that Branwell's degeneration inspired the then shocking 

Bronte novels. It is difficult for us to believe that in 

1877 when the above quotation was published there were 

"shallow judges" in existence who would think less of the 

Brontis if their theory was confounded. 

• ■ As in all things there is a middle position, 

a golden mean. It is this moderate argument with which I 

concur. The reasoning behind this position, which I have 

attempted to develop in this paper, is stated succinctly 

by Edith Kinsley in Pattern for Genius ; 

. . . the world the sisters inhabited was 
peculiarly circumscribed, and the persons it 
contained, few. Certainly they used every 
scrap of authentic material at their disposal; 
even so, their experience was limited. What 
they knew well was Haworth and its small circle 
of legend, people, and moors; still better 
they knew the interior of Haworth parsonage 
and the family it contained. The only two men 



-28- 



with whom the sisters were at all intimate 
were their father and their brother, with the 
possible additions of William Weightman, Mr. 
Bronte's young curate, and Monsieur Heg^, 
Charlotte's and Bnily's instructor in Brussels. 
Therefore, it cannot be doubted that self- 
portraits ^nd the portraits of Branwell and 
Mr. Bronte were continually drawn in the novels 
and repeated again and again, under varying 
aspects and in different circumstances, but with 
a poignancy and accuracy which do not exist 
elsewhere, 

I believe that Branwell Brontl?'s spirit roams the pages 

of Wuthering Heights ; I do not believe that Wuther ing ■ 

Heights is his biography. Although some critics have found 

him in the characters of Linton Heathcliff, Edgar Linton, 

and even Catherine Earnshaw, I believe he is strongly 

present only in the characters of Lockwood, Hindley, and 

Heathcliff. Each of these characters in V/uthering Heights 

carries some of Branwell Bronte's attitudes, actions, beliefs, 

or poses. Branwell 's friends themselves "were struck by 

the appearance in V/uthering Heights of several of Branwell 's 

characteristic expressions, not perceiving how familiar 

71 

these must have been to Emily." As Laura Hinkley states 

in The Brontes , Charlotte and Bnily , "That Branwell himself, 

both before and after his collapse, unconsciously supplied 

a great deal of material for Wuthering Heights is self-evident. 

Both Hindley and Heathcliff were, in Miss Hinkley' 3 

phrase, "fatally favored" children. Hindley was spoiled 

by his father until Heathcliff 's appearance. Mr. Earnshaw 

then "took to Heathcliff strangely, believing all he said 

73 

. . . and petting him up far above Cathy." Hindley finds 

.« 

Heathcliff to be "a usurper of his parent's affections and 



-29- . ' . 

his privileges; and . . . grew bitter with brooding 

7k 

over these injuries." Heathcliff during his childhood 
was a 

sullen boy who never . . . repaid his 
[Mr. Earnshaw'"!) indulgence by any sign of 
gratitude. He was not insolent to his 
benefactor, he was simply insensible; 
though knowing perfectly the hold he had 
on his heart and conscious he had only 
- to speak and the house would be obliged 
to bend to his wishes. 75 

Not only did Branwell's father favor him, his mother, 

while she lived and his Aunt Branwell did too. In Charlotte's 

only recollection of her mother, who died when Charlotte 

was five, Maria Branwell Bronte was "lying on a couch and 

fondly playing with her infant son." While the Bronte 



girls led very sheltered and protected lives, Branwell 

was allowed to frolic with the village boys and did not 

undergo strict disciplining. Perhaps with Branwell in 

mind Charlotte wrote the following to Miss Wooler, her former 

teacher: 

You ask me if I do not think that men are 
strange beings. I do, indeed, I have often 
thought so; and I think, too, that the mode 
of bringing them up is strange: they are not 
sufficiently guarded from temptation. Girls 
are protected as if they were something very 
frail and silly indeed, while boys are turned 
loose on the world, as if they, of all beings 
in existence, were the wisest and least likely 
to be led astray. 77 

Branwell's liberal education was particularly 

ruinous to an already unstable personality. In l8i|.7 

Branwell wrote that he had "been in truth too much petted 
78 

through life." Looking on the "noble face and forehead 
of her dead brother" Charlotte "seemed to receive 



an oppressive revelation of the feebleness of humanity. Of 

the inadequacy of even genius to lead to true greatness 

79 

if unaided by religion and principle." Branwell's 

father is unanimously blamed for his son's spineless 

condition. Like Hindley, Branwell would not have the moral 

stamina to act courageously when adversity struck and would 

end his life in a state of drunken wretchedness. 

Heathcliff and Branwell were both favored with 

unselfish love and devotion. Heathcliff, because of his 

elevated position in the Earnshaw household, naturally 

expected everything to go his way. If his pony became 

crippled he would demand Hindley' s and get it. Branwell 

was raised with the idea that success as an artist would 

be handed to him. His family had 

given him to understand that God had bestowed 
upon him a preferential issue of talents. With 
such backing it should be easy for him to storm 
a triumphant way through life. He came to take 
it for granted that both God and his family 
were tremendously interested in his welfare. 

According to Cooper-Willis, Branwell suffered from a 

"psychic injury" because he was one from whom "too much 

was expected and upon whom too much advanced admiration 
81 

was lavished." However, Branwell and Heathcliff were 
denied their childhood expectations; expectations they 
learned to look for with confidence, but never really 
deserved. If Heathcliff had always been treated as a 
menial servant, he would never have expected to live on 
as the master of V/uthering Heights, or at least as a 
member of the ruling class. If Branwell had not been raised 



-31- . 

with the idea that he would naturally become an acclaimed 
and an appreciated artist he might have worked and attained 
his goal. 

Unfortunately for Branwell, the modern judgment of 

his talents is not flattering. Fannie Ratchford states 

that Branwell 's "early precocity held not a spark of genius 

and that his development ceased after his fifteenth or 

82 

sixteenth year." In Angus Mackay's The Brontes , Fact 

and Fiction we read that "it is impossible to credit him 

[sranwel^ with unusual mental talents. With his letters 

before us we cannot but perceive that he was intellectually 

commonplace." Phyllis Bentley feels that the early Angrian 

writings "reveal the inferiority of the unhappy Branwell." 

Miss Bentley also points out the fact that Charlotte "in 

her Angrian writings often pokes fun at the bad verse, 

tedious prose and affected mannerisms of 'young Soult, ' 

and the specimens reveal that her criticisms are only too 
85 

well-founded." Regardless of how much Charlotte made fun 
of Branwell she still thought of him as a "genius," e_.£. , 
her death-bed description of him and her flattering description 
of him given to Mrs. Gaskell. Branwell, then, was expected 
to do great things and yet he had neither the tools, nor the 
training, nor the talent: he was damned from the beginning. 

Branwell, like Lockwood, considered himself to be 
quite a lady-killer. During his fii*st visit to Wuthering 
Heights, Catherine Heathcliff is totally oblivious of Lockwood. 



-32- 



However he is thinking : 

A sad pity — I must beware how I cause her to 
regret her choice. The last reflection may 
seem conceited; it was not. My neighbour 
struck me as bordering on repulsive; I knew, 
through experience, that I was tolerably at- 
tractive. 80 

At the very beginning of his narration, Lockwood must tell 

us of his experience at the sea-coast and the "fascinating 

creature" he met and conquered there. That is, when the 

lovely girl returned his attentions he ran away in terror. 

Both of these episodes sound remarkably like Branwell. 

The five foot, three inch Romeo wrote the follo\>ring while 

serving as a tutor in the family of Mr. Postlethwaite of 

Broughton House: 

As to the young onesi I have one sitting by me 
just novj'--f air-faced, blue-eyed, dark-haired, 
sweet eighteen-^she little thinks the devil 
is so near herl^' 

He, like Lockwood, thought women to be very susceptible to 

his charms. H'V-' 

When Branwell was twenty he fell in love with Mary 

Taylor. However, when his feelings were obviously being 

reciprocated, he backed off. Charlotte in a letter to 

Ellen Nussey mentions this: 

Did I not once tell you of an instance of 
a Relative of mine who cared for a young lady 
till he began to suspect that she cared more for 
him and then instantly conceived a sort of 
contempt for her? You know to what I allude — 
never as you value your ears mention the 
circumstance — 

His behavior is startlingly like Lockwood 's in a similar 
predicame nt . 

The idea of Branxv'ell being a very effective Don 



-33- 



Juan becomes amusing when one realizes what he looked like. 

At the age of twenty-three he was described, by his friend 

Grundy, as being 

Insignificantly small, one of his life's 
trails . . . his mass of red hair brushed high 
off his forehead to help his height — his 
great, bumpy, intellectual forehead, nearly 
half the size of his whole facial contour — 
small, ferrety eyes, deep sunk and still 
further hidden by near-removed spectacles I °° 

Mrs. Gaskell, describing Branwell from a woman's point of 

view says: 

.' . r .... I have seen Branwell 's profile; it was 
what would generally esteemed very handsome; 
the forehead is massive, the eye well set, and 
the expression of it fine and intellectual; 
the nose too is good; but there are coarse 
lines about the mouth, while the slightly 
retreating chil conveys and idea of weakness 
of will. His hair and complexion were sandy. 
He had enough Irish blood in him to make his 
manners frank and genial, with a kind of 
natural gallantry about them, 90 

Having seen a reproductiion of the profile mentioned by 

Mrs. Gaskell, I agree with Grundy's description. It is 

obvious that in this case, as in many others, beauty is 

in the eye of the beholder. 

Regardless of which description one accepts as 

valid, Branwell was the man with whom Mrs. Lydia Robinson 

fell madly, passionately in love — according to Branwell. 

Though drinking and dope addiction helped to destroy him, 

it was his own image of being a great lover that finished him. 

He refused to accept the reality of his rejection: to the 

end he could say "she loved me even better than I did her."'^''" 

According to May Sinclair "One of the most familiar symptoms 

of morphia mania is a tendency to erotic hallucinations of 



-31;- 

92 

the precise kind that Branwell suffered from." 

Lockwood and Branwell are both cynical, worldly, 

and skeptical. Again referring to Catherine Heathcliff, 

Lockwood thinks: 

Living among clowns and misanthropists, 
she probably cannot appreciate a better 
class of people when she meets them • 
the stirring atmosphere of the townl°3 

Writing to Joseph Leyland, Branwell says: 

I long to see you again at Haworth and 
! forget for half a day the amiable society 

in which I am placed, where I never hear . 
a word more musical than an ass's bray . , ."^ 

To visiting strangers Branwell would remark, "Sir, I live 

95 

among barbarians." Writing to Leyland about a work of 

his executed for the Haworth church, Branwell stated that 

his friend's "work at Haworth has given to all who have 

seen it the most unqualified satisfaction even where they 

96 

understood nothing of its real merit." Even though he 

stated his belief in the inferiority of the Haworth villagers, 

he got along very well with them and from the age of 

seventeen enjoyed their company at the Black Bull Tavern. 

After his reactions during his nightmare at 

Wuthering Heights, which is thought to be pure Branwell, 

Lockwood, an unbeliever, can stand back and say of Heathcliff: 

... my compassion made me overlook its 
folly, and I drew off, half angry to have 
listened at all, and vexed at having re- 
\ lated my ridiculous nightmare, since it 

produced that agony; though why was beyond 
my comprehension. 9? 

We have mentioned Branv;ell's own cynicism. A descendent of 



-35- ,. , 

Leyland's thought Branwell and Leyland had much in common; 

that is, they were both "self-opinionated, sarcastic and 

unreliable, scornful of religion and of anyone who disagreed 
98 

with him. " ... 

Both Lockwood and Heathcliff inherited Branwell 's 

habit of prefacing or ending his remarks with "sir." 

This habit Branwell, in turn, got from his father. In 

the first chapter of Wuthering Heights , four out of twelve 

comments by Heathcliff or Lockwood contain the word sir. 

Bradby states that "as Emily's ideas of how men talked must 

have been derived largely from her brother's conversation, 

it is not surprising to find Mr. Lockwood talking at times 
99 

like Branwell." 

\'Th.en Hindley comes to pov;er he is allowed to unleash 

all his brutality on Heathcliff. Enjoying even the minor 

torments he can offer Heathcliff, Hindley instructs his wife. 

Prances, to "pull his hair as you go by: I heard him snap 
100 

his fingers." This was also a favorite trick of Branwell 's 
when he lost patience with the boys in his Sunday school 
class. He would pick them up by a lock of hair and ad- 
minister a smart rap, 

Hindley's later drunkenness is, of course, drawn 
from Branwell 's own addiction, Branwell began drinking 
at seventeen and experimented with opium at twenty-three. 
Grundy reports that Branwell "dosed openly with laudanum" 

and "boasted that it took six glasses of whiskey to make 

101 

the company of others endurable to him." The last twelve 



-36- 



year 3 of Branwell's life record a growing, an ever increasing 

inability to live without some type of stimulant. At the 

age of twenty-eight Branwell wrote, "I shall never be 

able to realize the too sanguine hopes of my friends, . . . 

102 

I am a thoroughly old man — mentally and bodily — " 

If Catherine Earnshaw was but eighteen when she died, 

Hindley could not have been over thirty when Isabella Linton 

Heathcliff described him as 

... a tall, gaunt man, without neckerchief 
and otherwise extremely slovenly; his features 
were lost in masses of shaggy hair that hung 
on his shoulders; and his eyes, too, were like 
a ghostly Catherine's with all their beauty 
annihilated. . 

Due to his addiction to opium, Branwell lost his appetite 

and his clothes literally hung on him. A few days before 

his death, Branwell had dinner with his friend, Grundy. 

Grundy very vividly describes Branwell's appearance as he 

cautiously opened the door and entered a private dining 

room in a small Haworth inn: 

Presently the door opened cautiously and a 

head appeared. It was a mass of unkempt 

uncut hair, wildly floating round a great 

gaunt forehead; the cheeks yellow and 

hollow, the mouth fallen, the thin lips 

not trembling but shaking, the sunken eyes, 

once small now glaring with the light of madness . 

As Branwell left 

... he quietly drevj from his sleeve a 

carving knife, placed it on the table 

and holding me by both hands, said that 

having given up all thoughts of ever 

seeing me again, he imagined when my 

message came that it v/as a call from 

Satan. Dressing himself, he took the 

knife, which he had long secreted, and 

came to the inn, with a full determination 105 

to rush into the room and stab the occupant. 



-37- 

Strangely enough, the desperate Hindley pulls "from his 

waistcoat a curiously constructed pistol, having a double- 

106 

edged spring knife attached to the barrel." With this 

weapon he intends to kill Heathcliff and send him to eternal 

damnation. As Isabella says he, like Branwell, was "clearly 

107 

on the verge of madness," 

\i?hen Emily pictured Heathcliff as a thwarted lover, 
she drew on the only rejected and suffering lover she 
knew--Branwell. That Emily used some of Branwell 's ravings 
in her composition of Heathcliff 's speeches is, in my mind, 
a strong possibility. However, Romer Wilson feels that 
this would be chronologically impossible. This difficulty 
is removed when one realizes that Romer Wilson is confused 
about the year in which Branwell returned to Haworth from 
Thorp Green. We can, however, be completely certain about 
two dates. One of these is Branwell »s dismissal from Thorp 
Green in the middle of l8i;5. Shortly after arriving at 
Haworth for a visit he received notice that his services 
were no longer needed by the Robinsons and the hysterics of 
three years duration began. The second date is the publication 
of Wuthering Heights in December, l81|7. 

I do not believe that Wuthering Heights was completed 
before the middle of I8I4.5. Anne and Branwell had already 
returned from Thorp Green when Anne and Emily went on their 
first long journey together. During this trip the twenty- 
five and twenty-seven year old spinsters pretended to be 



-38- 

... Ronald Macalgin, Henry Angora, Juliet 
Angusteena, Rosabella Esmaldan, Ella and 
Julian Egremont, Catharine Navarre, and 
Cordelia Pitaphnold, escaping from the 
palaces of instruction to join the Royalists, 
who are hard pressed at present by the vic- 
torious Republicans. The Gondals still flourish 
bright as ever.lOo 

Obviously the Gondal material was very much on their minds. 

In her birthday note of iQkS, Anne states that: 

Emily is engaged in writing the Emperor 
Julius's life. She has read some of it, and 
I want very much to hear the rest. She is 
writing some poetry, too. I wonder what 
it is about?lD9 

It is apparent that Anne was quite well aware of Emily's 

literary activities. Is it not reasonable to suppose 

that if Stiily had completed a novel prior to the middle 

of 1814.5 she would have mentioned it to Anne? By the 

first half of 181^.6 Charlotte had read the completed 

110 

Wuthering Heights manuscript and by April she spoke 

111 

of it to her publishers. The tedious and disheartening 

attempts to see it published followed. 

In 1814-3 Branwell was engaged to tutor the son 

of the Rev. and Mrs. Robinson of Thorp Green. It is not 

true that Mrs. Robinson was the neglected wife of an 

elderly invalid. She was the same age as her husband or, 

seventeen years older than Branwell. Her husband did not 

become seriously ill until I8I4.5. According to Branwell, 

Mrs. Robinson showed him "a degree of kindness which . . . 

ripened into declaration of more than ordinary feeling 

. . . all combined to an attachment on my part and led to 

112 

reciprocation which I had little looked for." Branwell 
hoped that at the death of Rev. Robinson he would "be 



-39- 

113 

the husband of a lady whom I loved best in the world." 

In short, Branwell's expectations were not fulfilled. 

Mr. Robinson died and Mrs. Robinson, in turn, began waiting 

for the demise of the wife of Sir Edward Dolman Scott. 

On Wednesday, November 8, l8l|.8, Mrs. Robinson married 

Sir Edward. This occured six weeks after Branwell's 

funeral. 

Between Branwell's dismissal as the Robinson's 

tutor in 181|.5 (Branwell said Mr. Robinson discovered what 

was going on between his wife and Branwell) and his death 

in 18I|.8, the Brontfe* family witnessed a series of episodes 

involving the rejected lover. As Charlotte reported, 

Branwell was thinking "of nothing but stunning or drowning 

his distress of mind" and during this time "no one in the 

Hi; 

house could have rest." For eighteen years Heathcliff 

is obssessed with the idea of possessing his Cathy once 

more and destroying those who separated her from him. 

A few days before his death, Heathcliff tells 

Nelly Dean that: 

... what is not connected with her to me? 
and what does not recall her? I cannot look 
down to this floor but her features are 
shaped in the flags I In every cloud, in every 
tree — filling the air at night, and caught 
by glimpses in every object by day — I am 
surrounded with her image. -^-^^ 

Branwell writing to Leyland records how he too was plagued 

with the remembrance of his beloved: 

My appetite is lost; my nights are dreadful, 
and having nothing to do makes me dv;ell on 
past scenes--on her ovm self, her voice, 
her person, her thoughts, till I could be 
glad if God would take me. In the next world 
I could not be worse than I am in this.H^ 



-1^0- ^ 

■ *ir ■ - ' - . ■ 

Sir Wemyss Raid points out a startling resemblance 
between the sentiments expressed by Heathcliff and Branwell 
concerning their loved ones' husbands. Branwell wrote: 
"My own life without her will be hell. What can the so- 
called love of her wretched, sickly husband be to her 

117 

compared with mine." In Wuthering Heights Heathcliff 

says: 

Two words would comprehend my future — 
death and hell: existence after losing 
her would be hell. Yet I was a fool to 
; fancy for a moment that she valued Edgar 

Linton's attachment more than mine. If 
he loved with all the powers of his puny 
being, he couldn't love as much in eighty 
years as I could in a day. 118 

At least two other incidents show the remarkable 

connection between Heathcliff s love for Cathy and Branwell' s 

love for Lydia Robinson. Though Branwell did not see 

Lydia or communicate with her during the last three 

years of his life, he did receive reports concerning 

her condition from her physician, a Dr. Crosby. Relating 

the contents of Crosby's last letter to Leyland, Branwell 

writes: 

He knows me well , and pities my case most 
sincerely for he declares that though used 
to the rough ups and downs of this weary world, 
he shed tears from his heart when he saw the 
state of that lady and knew what I should 
. feel. When he mentioned my name--she stared 
at him and fainted. When she recovered she 
in turn dwelt on her inextinguishable love 
for me--her horror at having been the first 
to delude me into wretchedness, and her agony 
at having been the cause of the death of her 
husband, who, in his last hours, bitterly 
repented of his treatment of her. Her sen- 
sitive mind was totally wrecked. She wander- 
ed into talking of entering a nunnery; and 119 
the Doctor fairly debars me from hope in the future. 



One might compare Mrs. Robinson's supposed mental illness 

to Cathy Linton's own pre-death mental illness. Gerin, 

in her biography of Branwell, shows, however, that when 

Ifrs. Robinson was supposedly a "hopeless ruin" she was very 

carefully taking care of the family's finances. The 

fancy mourning dresses she had made were not similar to 

the simple garb of a nun, but covered with "black and 

^ 120 
white crepe trimmings." 

Sleepless nights and days of fasting are also 

shared by Heathcliff and Branwell. Days before his death, 

Heathcliff spent his days and nights roaming the moors; he 

cannot eat. Branwell 's own appetite was decreased due to 

his addiction to opium. He recounts to his friend Grundy 

how he dreaded 

. . . the wreck of his mind and body, which, 
. God knov;s, during a short life have been 
severely tried. Eleven continuous nights 
,"' : of sleepless horror reduced me to almost 
blindness . . . .121 

In l8ij.6 Branwell wrote Leyland concerning his condition: 

You, though not much older than myself, 
have known life. I now know it with a 
vengeance--f or four nights I have not 
slept — for three days I have not tasted 
food — and when I think of the state of 
her I love best on earth, I could wish that 
my head was as cold and stupid as the 
medallion which lies in your studio. 122 

Although Wuthering Heights was published almost a 

year before Branwell 's death, the deaths of Branwell and 

Heathcliff are similar. A few days before their deaths, 

both Branwell and Heathcliff were peaceful; strangely 

at peace. Returning from a walk on the moors shortly 

before his death, Nelly Dean could describe Heathcliff 



as "almost bright and cheerful. No, almost nothing — very 

123 

much excited, and wild and glad!" Charlotte, writing 

to Ellen Kussey, reports that Branwell's mind "had under- 
gone the peculiar change which frequently precedes death. 

Two days previously the calm of better feelings filled it. 

121; 

A return of natural affection marked his last moments." 
Charlotte further said that the "propitious change" which 
marked 

the last few days of poor Branwell's life — 
his demeanour, his language, his sentiment — 
all singularly altered and softened . . . 
could not be owing to the fear of death, 
■ ; ' for till within half an hour of his decease 
- he seemed unconscious of danger . . .125 

The life of Branwell Bronte ends on a note of 

pathos. Regardless of the actual caliber of Branwell's 

talent, he believed, at one time, in his own artistic 

genius. During the last three years of his misery on 

earth he became acutely aware of the impossibility of his 

childhood's dreams. The chrysalis in which he had spent most 

of his life, safely shrouded in fantasies, was torn 

from him and a frantic insanity resulted. Devoid of his 

illusions, Branwell was flung into the real world, a 

world for which he, like Emily, was ill equipped. Only 

a complete transformation would have enabled him to carry 

on with life successfully. Money, important friends and 

connections, and psychiatric aid were all lacking: Branwell 

was doomed to dissolution. Like Hindley, Branwell did not 

have to be destroyed because the seeds of his destruction 

were contained within him. The parsonage, once Branwell's 



happy home, became a prison. There was no place else to 
go and nothing left to do, except wait for death. 

Each day at Haworth Emily witnessed Branwell's 
inevitable decline. Both Branwell and Heathcliff were 
torn apart by excruciating mental torment. There were no 
psychiatrists to help Branwell overcome his disease and 
Qnily could only record his lovesick ravings, his impos- 
sible yearnings in Wuthering Heights . For the first time 
in English literature the mentally abnormal was not a 
subhuman creature, a Frankenstein monster, but a sufferin 
anguished soul whose cries had meaning, 

I realize that there is very little concerning 
Emily Bronte which one can firmly prove, I have only 
attempted to illustrate an interesting and important 
possibility. Other sources for Emily's delineation 
of Heathcliff and other male characters in Wuthering 
Heights have been advanced and have been eventually dis- 
credited. The theory of Branv;ell's presence in Emily's 
masterpiece has survived. This is because the little 
we know of Emily's personality and life substantiates it. 
Until we learn more of Emily or until a wholly nev/ inter- 
pretation of her life is proposed, Branwell's shadow 
must loom as important as ever in a turbulent masterwork. 



FOOTNOTES 



Clement K. Shorter, ed. The Brontes -- Llf e and Letters 
(London, 1908), I, 2i|.l. 

2 

Shorter, II, S» . , 



Geodfrey P. Bradby, The Brontes and Other Essays 
(Oxford, 1932), pp. 38-39. 

k 

Bradby, p. [|.6. 

5 

Bradby, p. ij.5. 



Edith E. Kinsley, Pattern for Genius (New York, 1939), 
p. 23. 



May Sinclair, The Three Bronte's (London, 1912), pp. 32- 

Sinclair, pp. 32-33. ,' ' 

9 ^ - ■ ■ ' ■ 

Bradby, p. ij.1. ■ , , 

10 ^, . 

Bradby, p. Ij.0. 

11 

Charles Walter Simpson, Emily Bronte (New York, 
1929), p. 173. 

12 

Simpson, p. 173. 

13 . 
Simpson, pp. 173-179. 

Simpson, p. 177. 



-ii- 



15 . ' •■ . 

Sinclair, p. 3i|» \ ' . 

16 

Sinclair, p. 

17 

Phyllis Bentley, The Bronte Sisters (Denver, 19i;8), p. 

18 

Bentley, p. i;3. " 

19 ^ " ' 

Norma Crandall, Emily Bronte, A Psychological Portrait 
(West Rindge, N. H. , 19i?7), P. 60. 

20 ; 
Bradby, p. 31].. 

21 

Muriel Spark and Derek Stanford, Emily Bronte ; Her Life 
and Work (London, 1953)* 49. 

Spark, p. 50. 

23 

C. W. Hatfield, ed. The Complete Poems of Emily Jane 

Bronte (New York, 19lj.l), pp. lI^^SZ 

2k - ■ * 

Winifred Gerin, Branwell Bronte (London, 1961), p. 61. 

25 

P. H. Grundy, Pictures of the Past (London, 1879), p. 2ij.l. 

26 , , - 

Simpson, p. 97. . .. \ , ' ' 

27 ' ' ' ' 
Gerin, p. II4.6. ■ 

28 ' " ^ 
Bradby, p. 25. 

29 

Crandall, p. I7. 

30 

Spark, p. 12. 

31 

Spark, p. II4., . 



32 

Crandall, p. 1?. , ■ ■ 

33 ■■• : 

Spark, p. 93. "■ 

Bradby, p. 30. } 

3^ 

Irene Willis, The Brontes (London, 1957), p. Ik* 

36 

Willis, p. 7k' 

37 

Spark, p. 12. ■ 



Emily Bronte, Wutherinis; Heights (London, 1930), p. xxiii 
Hereafter referred to as Wuthering Heights . 

39 ^ 
Wuthering Heights , p. xvi. 

14-0 

Wuthering Heights , p. xxvii. 



E. Dimnet, The Bronte Sisters , trans. L. M. Sill (London 
1927), p. 55. 

Fannie E. Ratchford, The Brontes' Web of Childhood 
(New York, 1936), p. 105. " 

Spark, p. h^. 

kk 

William S. Braithwaite, The Bewitch ed Parsonage (New 
York, 1950), p. 95. ^ 

Bradby, p. 26. 

i^6 

Wuthering; Heights . p. xvi. 
Bradby, p. 27. 



1^8 

Crandall, p. 95* 
Spark, p. 27. 

50 

Kinsley, p. 92. 
Kinsley, p. 92. 



Angus M. MacKay, The Brontes ; fact and fiction (London, 
1897), p. 27. — 

53 

Crandall, p. 22. s . 

$k 

Gerin, p. 112. 

55 

Crandall, p. 128. 

56 • ■ ^ ; 

Bradby, p. i;l. 

57 

Gerin, p. 2^.$. 

58 ; , . 
Bradby, p. i;l. 

59 .-• 
Crandall, p. II5, 

60 

Alice Law, Patrick Branwell Bronte (London, 1923), r>p. 
8O-8I. 

61 

Laura L. Hinkley, The Brontes . Charlotte and Qnily 
(New York, 19i;6 ) , p. I33T ^ 

62 

Hinkley, p. 133. 

63 

A. B. Hopkins, The Father of the Brontes (Baltimore, 1958), 



-V- 



61, - : ' ■ 

Wutherin;^ Heights , p. xxiv. 
Law, p. 129. 

66 

Spark, pp. 67-68. 

67 

Spark, p. 73. 

68 

Spark, p. 73. 

69 

T. Wemyss Reid, Charlotte Bronte ; A Monograph (New 
York, 1677), pp. 57-^8. ~ 

70 

Kinsley, p. I3. 

71 . ^ 

Hinkley, pp. 152-153. 

72 

Hinkley, p. 326. 

73 

Wuthering Heights , ch. k, p. 

71, 

Wuthering Heights , ch. 1;, p. ij.5. 

75 ■ ^ ■ ' 

Wuthering Heights , ch. 1;, pp. 14-5-^6. 

76 

Kinsley, p. 30. ■ 

78 ' / ; 
Gerin, p. 282. 

79 • ' 

Bertram White, The Mirac le of Haworth (New York, 1939). 
pp. 257-258. 

80 

G. Elsie Harrison, The Clue to the Brontes (London. 
191,8), p. 89. 

81 

Willis, p. 70. 



-vi- 



82 

Ratchford, p. xiv. 

83 

MacKay, pp. 19-20. 
Bentley, pp. 214.-25. 

85 

Bentley, pp. 21^-2$. 

86 

Wutherinp; Heights , ch. 2, p. llj., 

87 • ■ ■ 
Gerin, p. I6I4.. 

» 

88 ■ i • ' •' 
Gerin, p. 178. - - 

89 ^ ■ ■■"^^ ■ i^/ 
Crandall, p. 89. 

90 

Law, p. 50. 

4 , 

91 • - ■ ■ . " ■ • • 

Gerin, p. 22ij.. 

92 

Sinclair, p. 14.1. 

93 

WutherinR Heights , ch. 3I, pp. 37i4.-375 

9k 

Gerin, p. 208. 

95 

Hinkley, p. I30. 

96 

I Gerin, p. 209. 

97 . , . 

Wuthering Heights , ch. 3, p. 33. 

98 

Gerin, p. I85. . , 

99 ■ ' ! 

Bradby, p. 14.8, 



-vii- 



100 

Wuthering Heights , ch. 3» P« 23. 

101 . 
Kinsley, p. 197. 

102 

Gerin, p. 273. 

103 

Wuther ing Heights , ch. 13, p. 170, 
Gerin, p. 292. 

105 

Gerin, p. 292. 

106 

Wuther ing Heights , ch. 13, pp. 172-173. 

107 

Wuthering Heights , ch. 13, p. 17i;. 

108 

Sinclair, p. 193. 

109 

Shorter, I, 306. . V' ^ 

110 ■ ■ ' , ' • 
Spark, p. 77. 

111 ' ' ' 

Romer ,jWilson, The Life and Pr ivate History of Emily 
Jane Bronte (New York, 1925), p,~^3F: 

112 

Gerin, p. 221;. 
Gerin, p. 2i;l. 

iii^ ^; ..^v 

Gerin, p. 2l;0. 

115 

Wuthering Heights , ch. 33, p. 399. 

116 

Gerin, p. 267. • 



-viii- 



117 

Law, pp. 175-176. 

118 

Law, p. 176. 

119 

Gerin, p. 267. 

120 

Gerin, p. 268. 

121 

Gerin, p. 267. 

122 

Gerin, p. 263. 

123 

V/utherin!3; Heights, ch. 3I+, p. I4.O3. 

124 

Gerin, p. 296. . • ■ 

125 ■ 

Gerin, p. 297. 



.» 
« « 



LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED 



Bentley, Phyllis. The Bronte Sisters . Denver, 191^-8. 

Bradby, Geodfrey P. The Bronte's and Other Essays . Oxford, 
1932. 

Braithwaite, William S. The Bewitched Parsonage . New 
York, 1950. . , . 

Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights . London, 1930. 

. Gondal ' s Queen , a novel in verse , ed. 

Fannie E. Ratchford. Austin, 19^. 

. The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte , 

ed. C. W. Hatfield. New York, 191^-1. 

Crandall, Norma. Emily Bronte , A Psychological Portrait . 
West Rindge, N. H. , 1957. 

Cricht on -Browne, Sir J. "Patrick Branv/ell Bronte, An 
Extenuation," Fortnightly Review , IOI4. (July 
1918), 71^-82. ~ 

Dimnet, E. The Bronte Sisters , trans. L. M. Sill. 
London, 1927. 

)i 

du Maurier, Daphne, The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte . 
London, 1961. 

Gerin, Winifred. Branwell Br ont^ . London, I96I, 

Grundy, P. H. Pictures of the Past . London, 1879. 

Harrison, G. Elsie. The Clue to the Brontes . London, 19i).8, 



Hinkley, Laura L. The Brontes , Charlotte and Emily . 
New York, 19^5. 

Hopkins. A. B. The Father of the Brontes . Baltimore, 1958. 



Kinsley, Edith E. Pattern for Genius. New York, 1939. 



Law, Alice. Patrick BranvTell Bronte . London, 1923. 

Leyland, F. A. The Bronte Family , with Special Reference 
to Patrick Branv/ell Bronte . London, 158F^ 

MacKay, Angus M. The Brontes ; fact and fiction. London, 
1897. 



Moore, Virginia. The Life and Ea^er Death of Emily Bront^' . 
New York, 1936. ] 

Ratchford, Fannie E. The Bronte's ' Web of Childhood . 
New York, 19^1, . 

Reid, T. Wexnyss. Charlotte Bronte ; A Monograph . New 
York, 1877. 

Robinson, A. Mary Pj^ (Madame Duclaux. ) The Life of 
Emily Bronte . Boston, I883. 

Shorter, Clement K. , ed. The Brontes — Life and Letters . 
2 vols. London, 1908. 

Simpson, Charles Walter. Brnily Bronte . New York, 1929. 

Sinclair, May. The Three Brontes . London, 1912. 

Spark, Muriel and Derek Stanford. Bnily Bronte ; Her 
Life and Work . London, 195T^ 

Sugden, K. A. R. A Short History of the Brontes . London, 

i9i+o. ; 

Visick, Mary. The Genesi s of Wuthering Heights. Hong 
Kong, 19Fff. ^ 

White, Bertram. The Miracle of Haworth . New York, 1939. 

Willis, Irene. The Brontes . London, 1957. 

Wilson, Romer. The Life and Private History of Emily 
Jane Brontg . New York, 1928. 

Wise, T. J. and J. A. Symington, ed. The Brontes , Their 
Lives, Friendships and Corresp ondence. Oxford, 
1932. 



THE PRESENCE OP PATRICK BRANWELL BRONTE IN WUTHERING HEIGHTS 



by 



CAROLYN MARIE MORGAN 
B. S., Spring Hill College, 1962 



AN ABSTRACT OP A MASTER'S REPORT 
submitted in partial fulfillment of the 
requirements for the degree 
MASTER OP ARTS 
Department of English 



KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY 
Manhattan, Kansas 

1966 



I have attempted in this paper to show to what 
extent Branwell Bronte is present in his sister Emily's 
sole novel, Wutherins Heights . I believe it is advisable, 
at least by way of introduction, to establish what Branwell 
and Einily's relationship was like. The difficulty in 
establishing this relationship results from the fact that 
Snily did not, unlike Charlotte and Branwell, make devoted 
friends and keep up a wide correspondence. The little we 
know about Snily Bronte is drawn from the impressions of 
others, not revelations she made personally. Therefore, 
any study of Emily Bronte necessitates delving into the 
writings of her relations and their friends. Such evidence 
is not always trustworthy. 

The very derth of original material on Snily 
has driven many to construct the Branwell-Emily relationship 
on elaborate legends, some of which were encouraged by 
A. Mary P. Robinson's biography of Enily. Other critics 
and biographers have tried to analyze Qnily's poems sub- 
jectively, which is an unreliable method because of the 
difficulty in correlating Emily's private life during a 
certain period of time with the emotions expressed in a 
poem written during the same time period. It is also 
almost impossible to discern which poems are strictly personal 
and which poems are involved with Gondal themes. 

It is not thought that the egocentric Branwell had 
an early affinity with the shy Qnily. However, from 
1835 to 1838 Emily and Branwell were thrown together at 
Haworth (Charlotte and Anne were mainly absent at this time). 



-2- 

A closer personal relationship is believed to have developed 
and there is some evidence of literary consultations be- 
tween brother and sister. However, there is no direct 
evidence of the tender relationship of which Miss Robinson 
writes. Similar attitudes on religion and a common ex- 
perience of being failures in the eyes of the world might 
have brought them together, but, again, there is no sub- 
stantial evidence of this. 

There are three main critical positions on the 
question of whether or not Branwell Bronte's shadow is 
found in Wuthering Heights . At one extreme, are the 
critics who dismiss the importance of Branwell in Enily's 
construction of male characters either because she was 
above "using" her beloved brother or because Branwell was 
of such an inferior nature that he simply was not interesting. 
Critics in the late nineteenth century believed, on the other 
hand, that the Bronte sisters had written their then shocking 
novels in order to obtain a catharsis. The middle position 
holds that Emily, living a secluded life, would have had 
to draw on the men that she knew intimately: her father and 
her brother. There are several similarities between the 
behavior and speech of Heathcliff, Hindley, and Lockwood 
and that of Branwell which suggest that Bnily did rely on 
her knowledge of Branwell to construct the men in her novel. 

Other sources for Enily's delineation of Heathcliff 
and other male characters in Wutherinp; Heipihts have been 
advanced and have been eventually discredited. The theory 



of Branwell's presence in Bnily's masterpiece has survived. 
This is because the little we know of Emily's personality 
and life substantiates it. Until we learn more of Emily 
or until a wholly new interpretation of her life is pro- 
posed, Branwell's shadow must loom as important as ever 
in a turbulent masterwork.